Panelists Rodney Dillard, Chris Hillman, John McEuen, and Herb Pedersen discuss their backgrounds in bluegrass and how their experiences affected the burgeoning Los Angeles country-rock scene in this program hosted by the museum’s Michael Gray. This program was filmed on October 1, 2022, during the opening weekend of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s major exhibition “Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock,” and the panel discussion includes photos, video, and audio recordings.
Rodney Dillard recounts moving to Los Angeles and how his band, the Dillards, brought bluegrass to a larger audience by portraying the fictional band the Darlings on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Chris Hillman discusses his epochal career change from playing in California bluegrass bands the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers and Golden State Boys to more rock-based bands such as the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Desert Rose Band. John McEuen relates how Rodney’s brother and bandmate, Doug Dillard, influenced him to play the banjo and eventually his involvement in the formation of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Herb Pedersen talks about his time as part of the Dillards band, his many years of working with Chris Hillman, and how bluegrass traditionalists were uneasy about welcoming newer acts stretching the boundaries of the genre.
This program was presented in support of the museum’s major exhibition “Western Edge: The Roots and Reverberations of Los Angeles Country-Rock.”
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